Another Bank Loses Your Data

One more entry in Random Notions’ Business At The Speed Of Stupid file.

When banks transport money, they usually do so using armored trucks and armed guards. There’s a lookout posted when the stop. They keep careful count of the bags of cash they pick up and drop off.

Would it be so hard to take the same precautions with their data?

Let’s rephrase that. Would it be so hard to take the same precautions with YOUR data?

Apparently the answer is yes.

The CIBC, one of the largest banks in Canada, misplaced a computer file in transit between offices. It may have been a backup tape. In any case, this file contained information on as many as 470,000 clients of a particular mutual fund.

Is that worth a sack of cash? You bet it is. The bank is now notifying all half-million clients – in writing – of the security breech. They’re giving them all the option of enrolling in a credit monitoring service, free of charge. (How generous.) They’re setting up a call center and a web site to deal with any inquiries. And, although there have been no cases of stolen identities or other misuses of the data, yet – they’ve promised to compensate their clients for any monetary losses that may arise as a direct consequence of the missing personal data. All of that has got to cost a whack of cash.

But there’s also the intangible loss to the CIBC’s reputation. Would you want to deal with a bank that’s so careless with your personal information?

Oh, did we mention the faxes? From 2001 to 2004, the CIBC accidentally sent faxes containing confidential information to a couple of scrap yards, one in Montreal, the other in West Virginia. Talk about a wrong number.

Read 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age from Amazon.